At lunch the next day, Turner demands his first reading lesson. He hands Johnny a piece of paper with the Gettysburg Address written on it. Johnny refuses to teach him how to read that. When Johnny threatens to crumple up the piece of paper, Turner gets angry. That takes Johnny by surprise, as he did not know that black people could have holy feelings about things.
Johnny starts to teach with the ABCs, but it turns out that Turner already knows those. He learned by hiding under a school house until he got caught and told to go home. Johnny is surprised again that a black boy wanted to learn that bad.
As their conversation goes on, Turner tells Johnny about the whippings they used to get back on the plantation and how it was not anything like getting whipped by your own Pa. Before they can talk too much more, lunch is over and it is time to get back on the road again.
Since Johnny knew he was taking a risk by teaching Turner wrong, he decides to try to get out of it as much as possible. He also realizes that his best chance at escaping is getting Turner to trust him, so he tries to have as many conversations as possible. They talk about the Declaration of Independence and church.
That night, the teamster sleeping next to Johnny died in his sleep.
As they continued along, Johnny felt that he was beginning to earn the trust of Turner, but not enough for him to go off on his own. He continues to teach him some words wrong when they do reading lessons. This is when Johnny finds out that Turner’s first name is Cush and that he chose Turner as a last name since he needed two names when he enlisted.
That night, Jeb calls Johnny over. Jeb says that he is going to be dying soon and he wants Johnny to tell his family what happened when he is gone. He also wants Johnny to put rocks over where his body is buried, so he does not get dug up by any dogs. Johnny then watches Jeb die.
Instead of burying the body right away, Johnny thinks he can use that situation to escape, so he pretends Jeb is still alive. Johnny sits outside and waits until most of the soldiers are asleep. When they are, he goes over and gets a shovel from two soldiers by the fire. They originally do not want to give it to him, but eventually they give in.
Johnny takes the shovel and gets in his wagon. The soldiers here the sounds of the wagon leaving, but Johnny says he was just taking the body outside of camp so his shoveling would not wake anyone up. The soldiers go back to their fire. Johnny keeps taking the wagon past the road, but then he hears shouts and a gunshot. The Union troops catch him before he gets too far.
Johnny covers for running away by telling the troops that there were too many rocks by the road so he had kept going. The troops insist on watching Johnny bury him this time. The soldier lets Johnny pray over the body, but he refuses to let him put rocks over the body.
Cush accuses Johnny of trying to escape, which gets them into a talk about escaping. Cush tells Johnny of a time he was whipped until his back was raw for taking a piece of pork. Cush ran off when the fighting came to his master’s plantation, but he could not get his mother to come with. Cush also tells Johnny about going to Washington and how some troops he was with said they saw President Lincoln, although he did not see the president himself.
They reach City Point and Johnny sees just how much the Union has in the way of supplies. Cush brings Captain Bartlett over and shows him Johnny. Johnny and Bartlett talk about the war and Bartlett calls states’ rights nonsense. Bartlett says that the Constitution is not something that can be broken whenever some state has a whim.